Take this job and...
Friday, August 20, 2010
With recent events in the news about people who’ve had all they can take on the job (and found creative ways to exit from those jobs), it seems to me that it reflects a bigger workforce issue.
Years ago, my parents’ generation lived to work. Indeed, many people’s identities were defined by their jobs: more than “what do you do” it was “who you are.”
That link to personal identity was a great complement to the hierarchical organizational structure of the day. Older, wiser, more experienced employees were leaders and mentors, guiding the new employees. Orders were given and followed. Task lists were completed. Work was quantified. And when an employee had put in sufficient time, he/she was promoted – a badge of honour, proudly worn, that added to the individual’s identity.
I believe today’s workforce is defined more by its friends, social networks and interests, and less by job titles or work responsibilities. Work exists largely to pay the bills (which is not to say that young people are less passionate about what they do). The difference is in this generation’s ability to turn work off and open up all the other aspects of their lives.
It is something to be admired, and yet, causes some discomfort for the baby boomers among us. This is a different approach to work, but is it better? Worse? Will the next generation care as much as we do?
Time will tell. And the next generation may express that concern and stewardship in different ways than we did. That’s ok.
We are part of a huge societal evolution, I believe. More than just being the most connected population in history, we are in a time when people can influence, inspire and contribute to a variety of interests more efficiently than ever before.
As a result, people have more complex identities: perhaps artist, activist, athlete… and employee. The challenge for employers is to recognize, nurture and celebrate all the personalities that show up every day.
Post a Comment
Note: Your email address is never displayed on the site. If you would like to be annonymous, leave the name and email boxes blank.